Coffee Shops, Cafes, and Diners have been, and will likely always be, my temples of contemplation and revelation.
Practicing private thoughts within a bustling public setting works as a nice balance for my mind and soul.
Recently, I sat in a nearby, faith-based coffee shop/bookstore. The patrons were primarily college students – early twenties – discussing philosophical concepts while intermittently glancing at their screens.
They appeared to be harmonizing secular with sacred, in soft tones of curiosity and respect. Their vocabularies were as vast as our Western horizons, and they punctuated their speech with a potpourri of world languages.
To me, an eavesdropper, their conversations sounded lyrical. Almost like improvisational poetry. I felt inspired being nested in such artful ambience.
The moment pushed me higher.
Caused me to recall my own college days, where as an English major, I was in love with words. With the raw materials of my art form.
In the arms of such purity, I was nearly 20 years old when, during an all-night dormitory pow wow, I was coaxed relentlessly into uttering aloud the “F” word. It was liberating. I suddenly had a new relationship with the word. I was less fearful of its power.
Over time, I’ve dared myself to speak aloud every forbidden word deemed as vulgar or offensive to someone, somewhere.
Several of these words became familiar friends; others remained forbidden from my speech.
Eventually, I became uncomfortable with my free usage of cheap, easy words instead of giving space to speaking with specificity and grace.
People, both public and private, have stood me still with their eloquence, and kept me at attention until I absorbed some essence of their artistry.
Until I remembered my own love of language and admonished myself for loosening grasp on this romance.
Most recently and most powerfully, Michelle Obama sent me back to my origin: “. . . when they go low, we go high.” A phrase I’ve internally chanted like a mantra each time I seethe with enough emotional passion to drop verbal bombs of destruction.
I succeed and I fail at this.
I reinstate the mantra.
And rest in the eternal truth that all beings will be accountable for their own actions and reactions. That there is no need to judge, ridicule, or make demeaning statements about others’ efforts.
Engaging in inward seething judgment – a seething that remains either silent or shouts outwardly – actually retards my advancement as a human.
It does nothing to adorn my own consciousness. So why indulge?
Instead, if I can love myself enough to forgive myself, I can far more easily forgive others and dissolve any seething words brewing in my inner vessel.
And, just in case I’m too puny to silence my ugly words, I can always subdue the tendency with the bite of a sweet confection:
In this case, a dense, chewy pumpkin cake . . . recipe compliments of THESWEETWORLDSITE.
I embellished my version of the cake, but her elegant simplicity is enough to associate me with the power and the glory of beautifully heart-crafted and purified creative language. And remind me of my ever-present choice:
The Sound of Beauty or the Fury of the Beast
My choice; my reckoning.